Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminal Court
Getting the call that your loved one is in jail is terrifying. Gathering information about what is happening and what to do next can be incredibly aggravating. When someone has been arrested and booked into jail, they will go before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest. The judge will review the information given to them by the arresting officer and determine whether there is enough information to allege a crime has been committed. If enough information is found, then the judge will, in most circumstances, issue a bond amount, bond conditions if applicable, and the case will be assigned to a Court. Only after this process happens will your loved one be able to call someone.
If you have received a call like this, the first thing you can do is call the jail where your loved one is being held to see if they have seen the judge and if a bond amount has been set. Protocols vary on how much information the jail will provide you. Oftentimes it takes a request from an attorney or bondsman to obtain information about someone in custody. Call an attorney immediately to help you get information on where your loved one is and what it will take to get them out of jail.
First, you need to find out where your loved one is being held and if a bond amount has been assigned to their case. You can find this information by calling the jail where your loved one is located. Once you have found out how much the bond is, you can choose to pay the assigned bond in full or seek out the help of a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman typically requires a non-refundable percentage of the bond upfront to post the full bond to release someone from jail. If the bond amount is too high, you can seek to hire an attorney to approach the Judge at a later date to request a bond reduction or consideration for a pre-trial release.
Now. If you know you are under investigation for a crime or think the police might be investigating you or might charge you with a crime, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. An experienced criminal attorney can start working for you in the investigation process and may be able to gather important information and evidence that will help your defense.
Once released from jail, you will be given a large amount of information and paperwork. In that paperwork will be a notice from the Court you have been assigned to ordering you to come to court for your first appearance. The first appearance in Court is usually for the Judge to ask you if you are hiring an attorney and for the Judge to impose bond conditions in your case, if applicable. You must go to all court settings unless told otherwise by the Court or your attorney. Failure to appear in Court could result in a warrant for your arrest and additional charges.
Absolutely. Virtually all communications between a client and their attorney are protected by the strictest of confidentiality. it is VERY important that you be completely honest with your attorney about the facts and circumstances surrounding your case so that she may fully examine the strengths and weaknesses and advise you appropriately.
The only person you should talk to about your case is your attorney. The police or government could try and talk to your family, friends and co-workers about you. By telling other people details about your case, you could unwittingly be giving this information to the police or government. With limited exceptions, only communications with your lawyer are confidential. This means friends and family could be compelled to testify against you regarding your conversations with them in court.
YES. If you have a family member or friend in jail it is IMPORTANT you not talk to them about their case, either on the phone or in in-person visitation. ALL COMMUNICATIONS, whether in person, on the phone or through email, with persons in custody are MONITORED AND RECORDED. These conversations will be used as evidence by the State in the prosecution of the accused.
It depends. Hiring an attorney can be expensive. In entering into legal representation with an attorney, it is important to know how much the representation will cost and what your money is buying you. We offer a variety of fee options. Our fees are reviewed with you in detail with no surprises.
When someone is arrested for any type of crime, it can mean a lifetime of consequences. Records of people’s worst days can be found by a simple click of a mouse. An arrest is just the beginning of what can be a long road in the criminal justice system. While no one will be able to tell you, with certainty, how an arrest or conviction will affect your life, the handling of your case could have a direct impact on your future. Anyone charged with a criminal offense should take this process very seriously and choose the right lawyer who has the skill, ability and temperament to guide you through this process.